The Internet vs. The News

I love the internet. I am a millennial who has slightly introverted tendencies and who loves all her passions deeply so of course I love the internet.  It’s where people like me gather to find other people like me.

The internet is a tool so I don’t believe that it can be inherently good or evil. It is a way for us to research, to connect, and to play, all at the touch of a button. And if I’m being honest, there is just as much amazing content created on and made for the internet as all the vile things I hear about being online (I don’t know about you, but I don’t seek those corners out, I just have people let me know they exist). The way I see it, as long as we find our appropriate corners than all should be well as we surf the web.

Finding those quiet corners is still possible, but not when it comes to my news feeds and platforms. We, as a society, continually use digital sources to share and collect news. But along the way my news feeds and timelines suddenly become saturated with the same stories – each one appearing directly after each other on my platforms. Sometimes this is a good thing, especially when said news helps marginalized people or helps save lives. But when the news that is saturating my feed is filled with celebrity gossip or misinformed take-down articles, or any kind of clickbait, then sloughing through my feed to find actual information becomes almost impossible.

Now I could very easy combat this problem myself – the solution is simple. In order to escape the mind-numbing monotony of stories and articles I could never care about, I just simply have to not use any social media platforms for news ever again. But if information technology and the internet become as integral to human life as it’s threatening to become, then soon we will rely even more heavily on our news feeds to provide us with the information and articles we need.

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‘Need’ is the key word in that sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I love random facts and information as much as the next person. But there’s a time and a place. I don’t need a news alert when a celebrity posts a new picture on instagram nor when they are dating somebody new. I also don’t appreciate misleading headlines or opinions being presented as facts. There are so-called ‘news outlets’ that create 100 word articles that essentially say nothing new or noteworthy and they disguise them as articles about SOMETHING YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE. It’s valuable time/energy/space wasted.

This makes me tired. It makes me less likely to click on any links that news outlets promote, particularly if the sources’ links have proven time and time again that they contain no information of value (looking at you Time). And I know I’m sounding a bit like a grumpy old man right now, but thinking back I used to want to be in this industry. But now nothing makes me happier that I quit being a journalism major as the state of media at the moment. If being a journalist means that my reporting skills are used to write six different articles on what Kim Kardashian has posted on instagram lately, than count me out.

The situation is not dire yet. There are still plenty of reporters who are doing their due diligence. But I worry  and fret because it is not what I see everyday as I scroll up and down my timelines. I really do believe the internet is one of the greatest inventions of our time. It connects our world together and proves to us that we are not alone, that there are people like us everywhere and they care about making the world a better place. But if we don’t start talking about the things that really matter in this world, we’re going to forget what those are. If we treat everyone as if they are smart enough to get it, eventually they will.

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